Lion Benjamins's posts

Posted by Lion Benjamins on Sep 14, 2015 04:32 am

#1 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Solar Electric System - Photovoltaic > Re: SMK or MC4
Hi Tom,
Thanks for the advice.
My plan is to use adhesive lined heat shrink sleeves.
One short piece on each connector covering the last section of cable and part of the connector and one longer one covering half of each of the other two sleeves.
Might be overkill but it's not such a big job for only 4 panels.

Posted by Lion Benjamins on Sep 14, 2015 04:23 am

#2 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Solar Electric System - Photovoltaic > Re: SMK or MC4
Hi Amy,

Thanks for your detailed response which was very helpful for my understanding.

I did find some interesting additional information on the internet, - so it must be true... ;-) but I'm an engineer and it sounds sufficiently credible that you might be interested. (Item in "quotes" below.)

In conclusion, I plan to use available #10 marine grade cable professionally fitted with MC4 plugs at each end, cut than in two as per your suggestion and then connect it to the SMK panels via an altE SMK to MC4 Array Adapter Set. Hopefully the standard SMK leads on the panels will be long enough to allow the serial connection between two panels.

"Cross-mating any connector, regardless of the brands involved, is not a UL approved connection. It does not matter that both connectors may have independent UL approvals, as they were tested to their own, specific individual tolerances and specifications.
I have seen numerous connections failing due to cross mating issues. The issue is that the metallurgical chemistry of the contacts are going to be different unless they are from the same manufacturer. Over time, the difference in chemical composition causes oxidation and other issues that can lead to temperature rise and other problems.
Another issue is that, companies don't generally release tolerances for their products. This results in possible gaps in the contacts when cross mating, which leads to arcing, and ultimately connector failure."

Posted by Lion Benjamins on Sep 10, 2015 05:30 am

#3 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Solar Electric System - Photovoltaic > SMK or MC4
I'm finalizing the configuration of a new system (my first) and have a few questions regarding the connectors and their respective wires.

4 x 260w panels will be wired into two parallel strings each attached to its own MPPT controller in a marine environment, so I need marine grade tinned wire.

Are any of the altE wires  marine grade?

I am able to source marine grade but need to know the specs for the fittings. (I understand MC4 require specific external diameter).

The panels come with SMK fittings.
is there any practical benefit to converting from SMK to MC4?

Many thanks for any advice.

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